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Counting of votes in TN polls begins amid tight security

Written by: Staff
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Chennai, May 11M Counting of votes polled in the May eight elections for all 234 Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu began at 0800 hrs today amid tight security.

The counting is being taken up at 82 centres in 60 towns spread across the state. Postal ballots were being counted first followed by votes polled through electronic voting machines.

While trends will be known in a couple of hours, first results were expected by 1100 hrs. Results of all 234 seats will be known by afternoon.

AIADMK General Secretary and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, her Ministerial colleagues, DMK President M Karunanidhi, actor Vijayakant and DMK Deputy General Secretary M K Stalin, are among the political heavyweights whose fortunes are at stake.

A total of 2,586 candidates, including 1,222 Independents, are in the fray. As many as 160 women are also testing their luck.

In the highest turnout since 1984, a record 70.22 per cent of the over 4.63 crore electorate voted in the election on May 8.

The authorities had made round-the-clock foolproof security arrangements in all counting centres with a three-tier security cover being provided by paramilitary forces and local police.

The ruling AIADMK, heading the Democratic People's Alliance (DPA), has the highest number of 182 candidates, leaving 52 seats to allies - MDMK (35), Dalit Panthers of India (9), two to Indian National League and an INTUC faction, one each to JD(S), an IUML splinter group, Moovender Munnetra Kazhagam and the AIFB's Santhanam faction.

The DMK is contesting 129 seats, having left 48 seats to the Congress, 31 to PMK, 13 to CPI-M, ten to CPI and three to IUML. This is the second time the DMK is contesting such a low number of seats.

While the BJP is contesting 180 seats, Vijaykant's Desiya Murpokku Dravidar Kazhagam (DMDK) is testing the waters in all the constituencies.

The AIADMK has 140 members in the outgoing Assembly, DMK 30, Congress 25, PMK 16, CPI(M) six, CPI and BJP five each and Forward Bloc one.

UNI

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